India, Tajikistan to augment counter terror cooperation, expand defence ties

New Delhi, Dec 17 (IANS) Calling for the elimination of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, India and Tajikistan on Saturday resolved to strengthen bilateral counter terrorism cooperation and expand security and defence ties.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon affirmed their shared interest in fostering peace, stability and development in Afghanistan for regional security and stability and called for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

“The two leaders agreed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations must be eliminated without any distinction between good and bad terrorists and called for an end to sponsorship, support and provision of safe havens and sanctuaries to terrorists,” said a joint statement issued after the meeting of the two leaders.

Both leaders reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen bilateral counter terrorism cooperation, expand security and defence ties and work for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the UN General Assembly.

Stressing on the importance of an “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and national reconciliation”, both countries, as neighbours of Afghanistan, resolved work together to contribute to Afghan peace and prosperity.

While both leaders called for comprehensive reforms of the UN structures, President Rahmon reiterated Tajikistan’s support to India’s candidature for permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council.

The leaders stressed on the need for joint measures to expand and diversify the “below potential” bilateral trade, and reflected on improving regional connectivity.

They also underlined the importance of International North South Transport Corridor in this context.

President Rahmon hailed the signing of the trilateral Chahbahar Transport and Transit Corridors agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan and said it provides connectivity to large market of India.

The two countries on the day inked four pacts including one concerning exchange of financial intelligence related to money laundering, related crimes and financing of terrorism.

Informing about its plans to build a number of small and medium hydroelectric power projects, the Tajik side invited Indian investment in their country.

The two leaders also decided to further extend and expand existing cooperation and welcomed the successful conclusion of the Foreign Office Consultations and the meeting of the Joint Working Group on Defence Cooperation.

The two countries also decided to collaborate for capacity building in Tajikistan in the area of application of space technology for human development and in the farming sector.

Calling for increasing flight operations between the two countries, the leaders asked respective officials for bilateral consular consultations to explore ways for easier business, medical and tourist and other visas to promote people to people exchanges.